Basic HTML: What else do I need to know?

Basic HTML, What else do I need to know?

What in the world are Hexadecimal Colors?

The Hexadecimal Code is a fancy name for the simple solution the HTML wizards invented to tell a browser what colors to display. Based on the Red-Green-Blue palette, each color of the palette is given a two digit value, expressed as #RRGGBB. Valid numbers are zero (0) through nine (9) then A through F. The possibilities are practically limitless. You can have fun with this one!

Just to give you the idea --

Off White
Mint Green

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I need a DTD -- What is THAT?

No, it doesn't mean date/time stamp.  A DTD is a Document Type Definition (DocType) statement that should be placed as the very first line in the HTML for your page -- before the opening <html> tag.

Why do you need one?  A DTD is one of those dabs of HTML "icing" that will help your page to display in various browsers as you intended.  There are many types of (X)HTML and your visitor's browser needs to know what version you want to use to display your page. For example, the DTD for this page is:

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01//EN" "">

There are other DTD statements for other versions of (X)HTML.  If you do not include a DocType for your page, most browsers will revert to something called "quirks" mode which means the browser will render the page to the best of its ability; and it may not look at all as you intended.  Also, validators check your code against a specific DTD, so you must have a DTD for a validator to check the code for your page.  For more information, and a list of valid DocType statements, visit the W3C site (they are the folks who create the standards for HTML)

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META tags are often overlooked by the beginning web author, but they are important and you should include them in the HTML for your page. The META tags are inserted between the HEAD tags and can identify you as the author, tell search engines how to index your page, tell web spiders they are welcome or to keep out, etc. They also should include the character set in which the page was written which can affect the way the page is rendered.  You can copy and paste these META tags into your own HTML. Replace the colored text with your own.

<title>Title of your Page</title>
<meta http-equiv="content-type" content="text/html; charset=iso-8859-1">
<meta name="author" content="Your Name">
<meta name="keywords" content="Key Words, separated by commas, that will help a search engine index your page">
<meta name="description" content="A brief (about 25 words or less)description of the content of your page">

Effective use of META tags can make a difference in the amount of traffic your site receives. While not all web designers agree, the ones shown here are probably the minimum that should be included.

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Top Secret! 

Actually, there is nothing secret or difficult about writing and editing HTML by hand. Top Secret just makes a catchy header for this section <wink> But the first time can be a little scary, so try this.

  1. Open the page in your text editor.
  2. Use the "save as" command to save your page with a different file name, myPage2.html for example. You can experiment to your heart's content on this copy without corrupting your original HTML.
  3. Now edit the HTML in the copy. (only one change at a time, please)
  4. Save your change.
  5. Open the page (or refresh it) in your browser.
  6. Evaluate the results of the change you just made.

Does it look as you intended? Great! Make your next addition or change, save, and check your browser again. If it's not quite right, you'll know what section of HTML you have edited, and should be able to find the mistake quickly. Look for forgotten or mis-placed syntax, mis-spellings or typos like <img scr= instead of <img src= , and forgotten closing tags. Reviewing each addition or change as you go can catch a minor error before it becomes a major problem.

To learn more about HTML, see these tutorials:
Me Learn HTML?
Very Basic Tables

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